CIOMP through my eyes

Professor John Love

The Australian National University

Canberra, Australia


I have visited China eight times over the last 27 years. The country, its people, culture and history continue to fascinate me, and I always look forward to my next visit to learn more both within and beyond the immediate academic horizon. My first visit to CIOMP occurred in 2005 and, thanks to the generous hospitality of CIOMP and their staff since then, I have visited Changchun nearly every year since then.


Where it all started


In 2005 CIOMP hosted the 20th Congress of the International Commission for Optics. I had visited China in earlier years for photonics meetings in 1986 (Beijing) and 2004 (Chongqing) but I was overwhelmed both by the concentration of so many Chinese optics researchers working together at CIOMP and by the sheer scale of the main and ancillary buildings abutting Nanhu Road. Clearly China takes its optics very seriously! The research, development and commercialisation of optics projects appeared well funded by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and commercial partners, an attribute many of my western colleagues would envy! 


As well as presenting a paper to the Congress, I had a second mission in presenting a substantial case to the ICO Bureau that proposed Sydney, Australia, as an appropriate venue for the 21st ICO Congress to be held in 2008. The bid was finally endorsed by the Bureau as well as by the Territorial Members of the ICO, so it was then up to me, my Australian academic colleagues and professional organisations to move arrangements forward in Australia for the 21st Congress, as of course we did.


With so many ICO delegates swelling the resident researcher and staff numbers at CIOMP, I was impressed at the organisational efficiency that impinged on every aspect of the Congress, ranging from the meeting and farewelling of overseas guests, the magnificent opening ceremonies, the large number of parallel sessions all held in the main CIOMP building, and the magnificent Congress dinner and entertainment. I had arrived in Changchun by plane from Beijing at what appeared to be a section of an older military airport and left exactly a week later from the new Changchun International Airport. This structure equals similar modern airports outside of China and is connected to the city by a brand new 120 km/h motorway, and since 2011 by a 250 km/h high-speed railway line.


During the 2005 Congress, Professor Yuhong Bai from CIOMP oversaw the arrangements for the foreign delegates. I established an academic connection with her and invited Professor Bai to visit my home institution, the Australian National University in Canberra during 2007 to promote the CIOMP research journals that she manages. To forge stronger links with leading Australian optics researchers, she also attended the annual Australian Conference on Optical Fibre Technology (ACOFT) and the biannual Australian Conference on Optics, Lasers and Spectroscopy (ACOLS), both held that year at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University in the centre of Melbourne.  


Growing Involvement with CIOMP

Following Professor Bai’s visit to Australia, I was invited to visit CIOMP for a two-week period later in 2007 and was based in her editorial unit. This enabled me to meet and work with Professor Bai’s co-editors. I was also able to help with the English language work in research papers and thereby helped speed up the editorial process. For the benefit of several hundred CIOMP Research Students, I gave a talk about the history and development of fibre optic communications, a subject I have now been studying for 40 years. I was impressed with the high English language ability of these students. Since 2009 I have visited CIOMP every year and have become more integrated into the overall editorial process.


In 2010 I was asked to give a talk on the art of preparing and writing research papers for submission to leading international optics journals and conferences, as an aid to the graduate students at CIOMP. The idea here was to enhance the value of and broaden the international acceptance of their optics research.


About this time, CIOMP started a dialogue with the Optical Society of America (OSA) with a view to initiating a new high-level optics journal that would provide an additional and more national-focussed outlet for the ever-increasing volume of world-class research in optics emerging from within China.  CIOMP had already hosted several successful Summer Schools in close collaboration with the OSA, as well as meetings for members of OSA Student Chapters in China.

In view of my increasing links with China through CIOMP, I was invited by the OSA to join a Long-Term Planning Group (LTPG) within the OSA. The LTPG was set up to help promote the OSA and its professional support and activities for the benefit of China-based research students, academics and industry workers by making these activities more accessible to the 200,000 optics workers and researchers across the country. A Sino-American Workshop was held in Los Angeles in 2011 to help promote this goal and Professor Yuhong Bai, representing CIOMP, and myself were invited to attend.


Light: Science & Applications

A joint initiative between CIOMP and the Nature Publishing Group led to the inauguration of the new optics journal: Light, Science & Applications (LSA) that was launched initially in electronic form in 2012 with a hard copy to follow in 2013. My support for the new journal has led me to becoming a Topical Editor covering the area of guided wave optics and photonics. This is a challenging role, as the goal for LSA is to become a top optics journal in international rankings within the next few years.




The establishment of CIOMP in 1952 has provided a spearhead for Chinese optics and a figurehead for its future. It has also provided cohesion in optics in a country that is physically very large and diverse in both its geography and demographics. CIOMP has become a forerunner in raising the status of Chinese optics in the international community and increasingly reflects the breadth and depth of Chinese optics. It was a pleasure to be invited to attend the Photonics Trend Conference and associated celebrations for the 60th anniversary of CIOMP in September 2012. I look forward to a long and continuing association with CIOMP, and to following with interest its future path and leadership in optics.





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